It’s far greater thing to share principles than conclusions. So much of what is believed to be “thinking” today is little more than the embracing of prepackaged conclusions distributed by a group(s) the individual wishes to self-identify with. The canonical example of this being global climate change. Few have enough expertise to really comprehend the science behind the topic, and even fewer have spent more then a few minutes to perform anything that would be considered a balanced consideration of the data. Lest I am misunderstood, the issue is not trusting experts, the issue is emotionally adopting a conclusion based primarily on your political self-identification.
The Junto recently discussed the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima by the United States during WWII. It is unfortunate that this topic has become such a badge to display liberal or conservative street cred. It’s a complex topic offering much fruit to those willing to wrestle with it, but it’s also one hell of a Rorschach test. These discussions all-to-often begin with conclusions and then move on to facts.
I am very hesitant to grant dropping Little Boy and Fat Man a status of morally justifiable acts, though I consider myself a pretty solid conservative. During a recent discussion, it was pointed out that there is some similarity between the arguments used to justify dropping the bombs and arguments used to justify a preemptive strike. I couldn’t agree more. Most arguments used to justify the use of atomic weapons in Japan are based to large extent on assumptions, hypothetical situations, and often emotion and a touch of vengeance.
Many of my good and manly friends, the majority in fact, disagree with me on this conclusion – yet I believe we do align in the principles to which we hold fast. To be clear I’m not encouraging us to all just get along, far from it. My point is to recognized shared principles and then to have a lively and virile debate.
Here is five minute video by Father Wilson Miscamble, professor of History at Notre Dame. It’s interesting, informative, and also suffers from the defects I mentioned above.